Colorado National Monument
Downtown Grand Junction, Colorado
Sunday May 19, 2013
Driving Distance: 40 miles (approx.)
For early arriving attendees, an afternoon group drive will be offered from the meeting hotel in downtown Grand Junction to nearby Colorado National Monument (access fees on your own). The drive through Colorado National Monument will present views of spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone and granite–gneiss–schist rock formations - this drive is not to be missed!
That evening there will be a sign-in session in the hospitality suite followed by a welcome reception with light snacks, beer and wine - this is where new and old TT-West friends alike meet, greet and reacquaint. Attendees are then free to explore beautiful downtown Grand Junction for a late evening meal and to experience the local night life.
But don't stay up too late because tomorrow is a big day!
Monday May 20, 2013
Driving Distance: 233 miles (approx.)
The journey begins Monday with an early morning final sign-in session followed by a driver's meeting to discuss the days route. We then depart Grand Junction for our drive south along the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway through Unaweep Canyon.
We will have the option to stop at the The Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum in Gateway, Colorado - a collection of over forty vehicles capturing 100 years of automotive history in America. Once back on the road, we will pass by the former uranium mining town of Uravan City (uranium mined here was used for the first atomic bomb) and then take a short break at the Hanging Flume Turnout/Overlook. After Hanging Flume, when then press on to Telluride, Colorado for a mid-day lunch at one of the many dining establishments.
Regrouping after lunch, we depart Telluride and finish the drive over Lizard Head Pass (elevation 10,222') through the San Juan National Forest to arrive in Cortez, Colorado to check into our hotel, then hit the town for dinner.
Mesa Verde National Park
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train
Tuesday May 21, 2013
Driving Distance: optional
While this day will be a layover in the town of Cortez, there is so much to see and do in this area that we suggest you take advantage of the time to explore this region.
Take a short drive to nearby Mesa Verde National Park to hike to cliff dwellings that were mysteriously abandoned by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Or take a drive down to Four Corners Monument - the only place where four states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) meet at a common point. Head north to visit the Anasazi Heritage Center and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. For more modern culture, venture east to Durango, Colorado and perhaps take a ride on the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Attendees will be on their own for all meals and activities this day and we will provide a list of points of interests and area restaurants.
The approach to Monument Valley
Navajo National Monument
Wednesday May 22, 2013
Driving Distance: 272 miles (approx.)
We are back on the road and truly on the Trail of the Ancients as we make our way from Cortez, pass Four Corners, into southeastern Utah and then finally into Arizona. Our first point of interest will be a short stop at the Sand Island Petroglyphs just a short distance from Bluff, Utah. We then continue along RT 163 until we reach the majestic view of Monument Valley and then stop for lunch at The View Hotel.
After lunch, we will regroup and then proceed deeper into Arizona and the Navajo Nation. We will make a stop at the Navajo National Monument where the prehistoric Puebloan Ancestors built Tsegi Phase villages within the natural sandstone alcoves of the canyons. Three rims trails are available for hikers to do on their own - Aspen Trail (0.8-mile round trip), Canyon View Trail (0.6-mile round trip) and Sandal Trail (1-mile round trip).
Departing Navajo National Monument, we finish our driving for the day and arrive in Page, Arizona to check into the hotel. After happy hour in the hospitality suite, attendees are free for dinner.
Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim
Downtown Springdale, Utah
Thursday May 23, 2013
Driving Distance: 247 miles (approx.)
We depart Page and continue our journey across the heart of the Grand Canyon. Our first stop, a mere four miles south of Page, will be at the Horseshoe Bend access point to take the short half mile hike to the overlook of Horseshoe Bend where the early morning sunlight should make for a spectacular photo opportunity. We then head down to cross the Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge and then gently ascend over a mile as we make our way to the top of the Kaibab Plateau.
Turning left onto RT 67 south, we make our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and for lunch at the Grand Canyon Lodge. We plan to spend a little extra time here so that you take in the grand view and grab a bite to eat. We then will depart and head north into southern Utah eventually making our way to our hotel in Springdale, Utah.
After happy hour in the hospitality suite, you will want to find some dinner and this town is full of many fine dining establishments, so it may prove to be a difficult decision!
Zion National Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Friday May 24, 2013
Driving Distance: optional
This is the last day of TT-West and your final "day to play"! Your best bet (and we highly recommend this) is to spend the day sight seeing in Zion National Park and it is easily accessible via the free Springdale Shuttle System right from our hotel. We last visited here in 2010 for less than a day and it was simply not enough time, so we decided to come back! In fact, you may consider spending an additional day in Springdale so that you can explore more of Zion and the surrounding area. (Note: Check with the hotel on staying an extra night.)
However, if you are looking for a little more driving, then you can head south to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park which features coral-hued sand dunes located beside red sandstone cliffs.
Whatever your plans turn out to be for the day, just remember to be back in Springdale early evening for our closing group dinner and the last night for the hospitality suite. The last night is always the highlight of TT-West, so don't miss out on the fun!